An Adam Nash Murder Case

Sometimes, Google Alerts can freak you out.  I have a Google Alert for “adam nash”, to capture all the press mentions and news that pop up with my name in it.  This article came through today, from “The Daily Gleaner” in Canada:

Nash Guilty of Second Degree Murder

Just to clarify, this is not me.  Some content from the piece:

The jury in the Adam Wade Nash murder trial deliberated for a little more than six hours before returning and finding the accused guilty of second-degree murder.

Nash, 40, shot his 49-year-old brother Gordon Nash twice in the head Oct. 31, 2006, shortly after the two had been in a physical altercation.

At issue at trial and in the jury’s deliberations wasn’t whether Nash committed the murder, but his state of mind at the time.

The prosecution argued that it was a planned (though poorly) and deliberate killing, making the crime one of first-degree murder.

The defence’s case was that Nash was too drunk and tired to plan a murder and that the act of shooting his brother was an impulsive one driven by anger.


Controversary Over the Proposed Washington DC Quarter for 2009

Don’t know how I missed this, but last month Guam, American Samoa, and Washington D.C. submitted designs to the US Mint for their 2009 quarters.

If you aren’t following this, the 50 State Quarter program ends this year, in 2008, with the 50th state, Hawaii rounding out the end of the year.  Congress passed a bill that added one year to the program in 2009, to cover Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the US Territories.

Here is an article on the American Samoa submission.  Here is another on Guam‘s submission.  Kind of cool that it has a Spanish motto on it.

Here is an article about Washington D.C.’s submissions, which included the motto, “Taxation Without Representation“, a historical reference and sly cut at Washington D.C.’s current status lacking congressional representation.

“The new quarter will teach people across the country about our city and its history. It’s my hope that those who don’t know about our disenfranchisement will soon learn about it when they’re paying a toll or buying a soda.”

The US Mint rejected their submissions as too controversial.

“Although the United States Mint expresses no position on the merits of this issue, we have determined that the proposed inscription is clearly controversial and, therefore, inappropriate as an element of design for United States coinage.”

Nothing like a little drama around coin design.

Antisocial Journalist Discovers LinkedIn… and becomes a Fan

This is a fun story, courtesy of the Boston Herald.  Reminds me a bit of my mother’s conversion last year to a true LinkedIn fan:

Boston Herald: Antisocial Critic Now Web Phanatic

I finally caved to peer pressure last week, convinced that the “best time to look for a job is when you’re not looking” cliche is all too true. Uploading my e-mail address book into the LinkedIn system, I invited nearly 300 personal and business associates to publicly admit they know me.

“Hi there!

After years of avoiding social networking like the plague, I’ve finally decided to show up to the dance.

Using “plague” and “dance” is a mixed metaphor to be sure, but please forgive me.

We’ve been in touch previously for one of my Boston Herald columns or TV production assignments, and I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

Pretending I’m asking for a date to the prom for an agonizing 300 times might have been too cutesy for some recipients. But I thought it was much better than the trust pitch.

A funny thing happened over the next few days. The annoying process of networking became enjoyable. Scratch that. I actually found LinkedIn to be addicting.

“Darren, welcome to the dance!” wrote Joe, a business development guy for a local engineering firm. “Those of us who are poet/artists in marketers’ clothing see (social networking) for what it is – a sort of goofy/fun thing that could actually pay off in many ways.

“So welcome, and may you use your new powers for good not evil. You’ll probably want a Blackberry next – don’t fight it, they’re cool.”

Who would RSVP to my invitation next? How high could I get my number of contacts? I found myself in an undeclared competition with my co-workers. A guy down the hall went to college with one of my favorite TV meteorologists. When he added her to his network, the office considered it a major coup.

At LinkedIn, we spend most of our time working on new and useful ways of leveraging your professional network and professional reputation to make you more effective on a daily basis.  But it’s still amazing to me how emotionally powerful the basic “reconnect” features can be for people.

I think this journalist did a great job capturing how good that first euphoric wave of connection can feel for someone just discovering LinkedIn.  It’s a lot of fun to see in print.

Iraqi TV Debate: Is the Earth Flat or Round?

You be the judge.  Many thanks to Boing Boing and for this one.

Here’s a snippet:

Statement by a round-earther physicist: When you watch a ship sailing towards the shore, all you see at first is the mast. Then you see the bow, and eventually the entire ship.

Fadhel Al-Said: When you stand on the beach and look into the distance, everything you see is in the visible distance. In the blurred distance, you cannot see a thing. Later on as the ship gets closer to the shore or the harbor, you see the upper part. How do you see it? The eye, as I have said, no doctor has succeeded in understanding how the eye works.

Can you find the flaws in the flat earth “astronomy researcher”?  My favorite part is where he explains that since the moon covered the sun partially in 1999, he has been able to conclude that the moon is 1/2 the size of the sun.  🙂

Just a little fun on a Friday.

How to Convert FLAC to Apple Lossless (MP4) on Mac OS X

Another helpful file conversion tip.

FLAC is a lossless audio codec that is very popular on Linux and on Windows.  However, it’s virtually non-existant on the Mac, which is a problem if you have a library of music that you have encoded in FLAC and you want to upload to your iTunes library.

There are various command-line solutions out there on Windows, but very few available for Mac OS X.

XLD is the answer.

The “X Lossless Decoder” offers super fast conversion of various lossless formats on the Mac, with a decent GUI, and better yet, drag-and-drop conversion.

XLD supports the following formats:

Other formats supported by Libsndfile are also decodable. XLD uses not decoder frontend but library to decode, so no intermediate files are generated. All of the supported formats can be directly split with the cue sheet. XLD also supports so-called ’embedded’ or ‘internal’ cue sheet.

Currently you can choose output format from WAVE,AIFF and Raw PCM. In addition, you can choose Ogg Vorbis (aoTuV), MPEG-4 AAC (QuickTime/CoreAudio), MP3 (LAME), Apple Lossless, FLAC and HE-AAC (aacPlus v1/v2) in the GUI version.

Hope this helps you audiophiles out there converting to the Mac.  I converted entire albums from FLAC to Apple Lossless in just minutes on a PowerMac G5.

Company Profiles Launch on LinkedIn

Maisy has the post up on the LinkedIn blog:

Now Companies Have Profiles on LinkedIn

Starting now, you’ll be able to see over 160,000 profiles of companies on LinkedIn, ranging from Fortune 500 companies (e.g. eBay) to philanthropic organizations (e.g. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) as well as LinkedIn’s own Company Profile page.  Company Profiles on LinkedIn is a succinct overview of a company’s industry data in combination with LinkedIn data along certain key metrics.

Maisy has a video demo up on Youtube… it’s still locked up right now, but will likely be unlocked soon:

I’ve watched this feature come together over the past couple of months and I have to say, the beta version is remarkably engaging.  I find myself clicking through companies based on how they relate to each other, where employees from one company come from, where they go to, etc.  Very interesting, especially as you dig into smaller, less known companies that aren’t part of the Fortune 500.

Some additional blog coverage:

Congratulations to the teams that helped put this together.

Adam Nash: The Fight for the Google Top 10

Owning your own personal brand is harder than you might think.

It’s neck-and-neck for the domination of the “Adam Nash” top 10 search results on Google.  It used to be just a two-way battle between me, and some child born in Colorado for the express purpose of donating stem cells to his sibling.  Now, there are a three contenders, and it’s getting tight.

Right now, the score is:

  • Yours truly, with links 1, 2, 5, and 6.
  • Adam Nash (aka Adam Ramona) from Melbourne, Australia has links 3 & 4 & 7  He’s using Blogspot and Ning for pagerank.  Has his own domain,
  • Adam Nash, the baby born from Lisa & Jack Nash in Colorado, rounds out the bottom 10 with 8, 9, 10.  Old news links.

Part of this is my fault.  I left open, and Adam Ramona took it.  I’m usually quite good about locking up the name space.  He also took nashadam at Ning, but he couldn’t get adamnash because I had that locked up.

In any case, I’m lucky right now because I have the holy trinity of personal page rank working for me:

Plus, for whatever reason, Stanford continues to have amazing page rank for my old Computer Science department page which has been pointing to for the last 10 years.

Still, I’m worried I’m going to lose the top spot if the pace of news coverage on my doppelganger in Australia is any indication.  One thing he’s doing, which is smart, is creating a web page that indexes every article about him, tied to his domain.  Maybe I should do the same thing with the heavy news coverage of LinkedIn product launches with my name in it.


Battlestar Galactica, Season 4, Caprica, and the Movie

Can you hear it….?  That distant rumbling….?  That’s the sound of the best show on television coming in for a new season.

April 4th.  10:00PM.  Sci-Fi Channel.

Some news tidbits from Buddy TV, which covered the Battlestar Galactica news conference:

  • We get 10 episodes.  The last 10 episodes will likely be in 2009.  (Writer’s strike)
  • Shows will be on at noon that day for early viewing.  Nothing specific on iTunes.
  • Greenlight to the prequel TV series pilot, “Caprica”, which will focus on a time, 50 years before the show, before the first Cylon war.  Will be a 2-hour movie in the fall.
  • No vote on the movie of Battlestar Galactica post-season 4.

As the article closes:

The cast just received their first post-strike script and will resume production next week. Moore stated that, in writing the final season, his primary goal is simply to bring everything home and do justice to the series he has created. When asked about possibly expanding to a Battlestar Galactica film after it’s over, Moore’s answer was a definite “No,” claiming the series would not translate well to the big screen.

Can’t wait.

New ETN to Track Chinese Renminbi & Indian Rupee

Caught this in yesterday’s news:

Morgan Stanley has teamed up with Van Eck Global to launch currency exchange-traded notes offering exposure to the Chinese renminbi and the Indian rupee. The Market Vectors – Chinese Renminbi/USD ETN (NYSE Arca: CNY) and Market Vectors – Indian Rupee/USD ETN (NYSE Arca: INR) are the first exchange-traded products to offer exposure to those two currencies. They launched today on NYSE Arca.

The notes are designed to go up in value when the named currency appreciates against the U.S. dollar, and down when the dollar strengthens. The ETNs are underwritten by Morgan Stanley, and Van Eck is the marketing agent. The notes charge 0.55% in annual fees.

Full details are on Yahoo Finance.

The securities are already live and trading.  Here is a quote for the Market Vectors – Chinese Renminbi ETN (CNY), here is a quote for the Market Vectors – Indian Rupee ETN (INR).

There are a few details that are worth noting.  ETNs, or Exchange Traded Notes, are a relatively new innovation in indexes, and as a result, there are some grey areas around their long-term tax treatment.  Both notes do not actually own the currency.  Instead, you are buying a promise, from Morgan Stanley, that they will pay off a return on investment that matches the return on investment of an index that is tied to the currency.  Got it?  Yes, it’s two levels of indirection… almost like a HANDLE to the currency.  (Bonus points to old-school Mac developers who get the reference.)

Here are three caveats from the article:

First, unlike most currency products, they earn interest based on the U.S. Federal Funds interest rate … not local interest rates.�(Although they are currently similar.)

Second, these ETNs do not pay out interest income – instead, it is added to the share value of the note.�That creates a problem for investors, as the IRS has said that investors must pay taxes each year on this notional interest … even though they won’t realize the gains until they sell the note.

Finally, ETNs are debt instruments, which means investors are exposed to the credit risk of the underlying bank. Morgan Stanley seems sound, but the current market environment could give people pause.

This is an interesting option, but likely only appropriate for tax-protected accounts.  Personally, I still have a soft spot for Everbank, and it’s currency-based bank notes, CDs, and money market funds in different world currencies.

How to Convert MKV to MP4 on Mac OS X

A lot of video online is being distributed in MKV format (aka “Matroska Video”).  Not knowing anything about this format, I did a search for ways to convert this to MP4 for the AppleTV/MacMini/iTunes family, but found mostly Windows-based or command-line utilities.

Then this forum discussion popped up, and pointed me to a very cool solution that I had to share.

Basically, you can do it with Quicktime Pro, but only if you download this free extension to Quicktime that adds support for a large number of video formats.

The magic free extension, which is distributed as a System Preference panel file, is called Perian, the Swiss Army Knife for Quicktime. Quick download, mount disk image, double-click on preference panel file, and you are ready to convert.

Once you have Perian, you just open the MKV file with Quicktime, and export it to either MP4 (with specific settings), or use the AppleTV or iPod export settings.  That’s it, really.

This blog had a wonderful, detailed step-by-step process, with screenshots.  I found it invaluable.

Hope this helps.  The only downside to this is that it really is only practical for MKV files out there that already use H.264 for encoding, and that have settings compatible with iTunes.  So far, I’m finding that most do, but your mileage may vary. Also, it takes Quicktime Pro about 30 minutes to convert a 2 minute movie on my PowerMac G5, Dual-2.5Ghz.  So this isn’t really practical with full length pictures unless you are willing to leave it running for hours.

Let me know if you have a better solution.

Update (10/5/2008): The blog that had the instructions is now gone.  There is a new solution posted on

Update (12/13/2008): Thanks to the comment below for a pointer to MKVTools 2.1.  Looks like a new alternative for MKV to MP4 without re-encoding.

Update (01/04/2009): Stop everything.  There is a much better solution now.  Handbrake 0.93 lets you specify an MKV file as a source, and then lets you convert to a variety of outputs.  I’m not sure if it introduces any unnecessary compression, but given Handbrake’s reputation, I’d be surprised if they re-encoded when not necessary.  Check it out and post here if you have issues.

Update (11/27/2009): Handbrake 0.9.4 is now out, and it handles MKV to MP4 translation flawlessly.  I highly recommend it.  No other solution comes close for ease of use or quality.  And it’s free.

You Still Have a Mail Slot in Building 6…

Got this snapshot in an iPhone email from a friend of mine at eBay.  I don’t know why, but it brought a smile to my face.


It has been just over 10 months since I left eBay for LinkedIn.  Really loving Linkedin – for the people, the product, the opportunity, and just to be a part of building a great, new company.

But it’s fun to see these little sign posts of the past that say, “I was there”.

Of course, there are a few others lying around.  Like this one.

Investor Presentation for JPMorgan/Bear Stearns Deal @$270M

I love the web.  I can’t believe we live in a time where a guy like me can actually review the presentation behind something this momentus, in close to real time.

Credit to Paul Kedrosky’s Blog.

Slice the $270m JPMorgan just agreed to pay for Bear Stearns any way you want to and still it’s a horrible end for a storied brokerage firm. To end up paying $0.25 on the dollar for the company’s $1 in headquarters real estate, in effect, and to do it in equity, no less, is an embarrassment beyond embarrassment for people collectively incapable, at least until now, of being embarrassed.

Tragic, tragic stuff, and, we can only hope, a bottom, even if one we bounce along for some time,  to one of the worst periods in modern financial markets. But trust me, there is nothing in it for anything to be proud of, other than removing much of the Bear-specific counterparty risk that would have taken everyone in the financial market out in a major way during trading tomorrow.

Here is the NYT piece, from tomorrow’s newspaper, tonight, online.

Here is the PDF of the investor presentation.

Drat. Hope I didn’t miss Elizabeth Monroe.

Just found out that I missed the launch date for the 5th First Spouse gold coin (the first in 2008).  It is the coin for Elizabeth Monroe, and it officially launched on Feb 28th.

It really irritates me that the US Mint doesn’t support the subscription option for these coins.  To me, the subscriptions are exactly what you want as a collector.  You decide to commit to a series, and then, automatically, when they launch new coins, they send you the coin and bill you.

I have subscriptions for a few series over the past five years, and they’ve been excellent.  No problems, no issues.

I’m still not sure I have the willpower to jump every 2 months or so to try and get one of the first spouse coins.

Just for reference, here are the 2008 First Spouse Gold Coins:

The New $5 Bill Has Launched. Next Up, the $100 C-Note.

Wow.  I think this is the smoothest marketing video I have ever seen… for a federal reserve note.  Check this out: The New $5 Bill

Here is the press release.  Here is a list of the new security features.  Here is the website for the new bill.  Here is a glossy PDF of the front of the bill and the back of the bill.

The new $5 bill incorporates state-of-the-art security features that are easy to use by cash handlers and consumers alike. Hold the bill to the light to check for these features:

  • Watermarks: There are now two watermarks on the redesigned $5 bill. A large number “5” watermark is located in a blank space to the right of the portrait replacing the previous watermark portrait of President Lincoln found on the older-design $5 bills. A second watermark – a column of three smaller “5”s – has been added to the new $5 bill design and is positioned to the left of the portrait.
  • Security Thread: The embedded security thread runs vertically and is now located to the right of the portrait on the redesigned $5 bill. The letters “USA” followed by the number “5” in an alternating pattern are visible along the thread from both sides of the bill. The thread glows blue when held under ultraviolet light.

No big surprises here, really.  These are all features we’ve seen on the new $50, $20, $10, $5.  They aren’t redoing the $1, so next up is the $100, which will feature 650,000 micro-lenses.

Interestingly, my blog post on the $100 redesign has now become part of wikipedia, generating regular traffic to this blog (at least a few hits each day).

Would love to see a $500 Bill and $1000 Bill, to match the 500 Euro note.  But I doubt we’ll see it soon.